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Beyond COP26, let’s forget normal and focus on better

A couple of weeks ago, leaders from around the world gathered in Glasgow to reach international agreements on slashing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the planet. And though we have seen renewed commitments, this crisis deserves more urgent action if we want to pass on a liveable and beautiful earth to future generations.

We need large-scale change in the way we do business and approach the climate crisis

While each country and business is unique, right now a common commitment must be shared — to set and act on ambitious goals to address the climate crisis. The good news is that the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed that countries will resubmit even more ambitious plans next year for the COP27 in Egypt.

We have also seen unlikely alliances to meet climate objectives and protect our planet, including businesses who have stepped up and implemented concrete actions to both reduce their impacts and help nations and other businesses do the same.

Although we know that technology isn’t the only solution, it must take on a more prominent role in responding to the climate crisis.

While this is crucial progress, we know that there’s even more we need to do. We need large-scale, measurable changes in the way we do business and approach the climate crisis as individuals and as organizations. This will require clear and deliberate action, global partnerships and, more than ever, urgency and innovation.

And although we know that technology isn’t the only solution, it must take on a more prominent role in responding to the climate crisis. Digital technologies are a critical enabler of the green transformation to make businesses more efficient and sustainable.

Technology can make a truly significant impact

Connectivity has become the lifeblood of economies and societies, being critical for everything from education to health care. As the necessity of connectivity continues to grow, we must ensure it is sustainable.

We’ve worked closely with Deutsche Telekom to redesign its network to expand reliable access to more people across Europe and reduce its environmental footprint. Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies, with over 246 million mobile customers and 22 million broadband lines. As you can imagine, these millions of connections require energy to function.

By using Cisco’s mass-scale routers — the most powerful in the global industry — we were able to deliver an optimal, secure experience for customers and reduce power consumption by up to 92 percent, making a significant contribution towards achieving Deutsche Telekom’s climate goals. And ours too.

Our customers’ footprint is our footprint. We recently pledged to become Net Zero for all scopes by 2040, including scope 3, where the biggest share of our emissions come from. Making our products ever more energy-efficient and sustainable is essential to achieving this.

ViaCisco

Using hybrid work as a sustainability lever

I can’t talk about sustainability, climate change, and technology in this moment without mentioning hybrid work. What we’ve learnt over the past year-and-a-half is that work is not a place you go, it’s what you do. And as we rethink the future of work, we must do so with sustainability in mind. We can use it as a lever to reduce emissions by limiting commuting and business travel thanks to collaboration platforms like Webex and investing in innovative building technologies to reduce energy consumption.

At Cisco, our commitment to hybrid work is about more than just reducing emissions. It’s about creating a culture of well-being that puts people first. And we know that our secure collaboration technology can help our customers and partners do the same — freely and safely making choices about the way their teams work and contributing to their own environmental goals while taking care of their people.

Investment in innovation

None of these technology solutions would be possible without a strong commitment to innovation. And that requires significant business investment not just in their own products and services, but in passionate entrepreneurs who are coming up with innovative solutions to deliver critical impact for the future.

An example of this at Cisco is our Global Problem Solver Challenge, which in 2021 awarded $1 million to technology-based startups addressing social and environmental issues. This year we awarded our first Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize to Remora, a group of amazing young innovators who have developed an affordable technology that can capture 80 percent of carbon emissions from long-haul trucks.

Collaborative ecosystems as common denominator

The necessary element of all these approaches is collaboration. We know that we cannot tackle this crisis alone. We cannot achieve big goals in isolation. Our path to net-zero must be one of global partnership, because we can only usher in an inclusive future if it is done by all, and for all. That’s why we joined the EU Green Digital Coalition — to share best practices and work together to accelerate change and deliver concrete results.

Our path to net zero must be one of global partnership, because we can only usher in an inclusive future if it is done by all, and for all.

And so, I would like to invite more companies to engage in dialogue and join forces to create the ecosystems of impact we are going to need to create lasting change. And I ask policymakers to deliver policies that enable businesses to deliver the green transformation, alongside collaborative projects.

With over 1,000 projects impacting 60 percent of the world’s population, Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can drive sustainability by unlocking the value of digitization. As part of this program, Cisco has launched a new Digital Sustainability framework to streamline investments and leverage technology to meet sustainability goals, with more efficient public transport, connected roads for traffic flow efficiency, and smart buildings for energy savings and greater quality of life.

As we rebuild from the pandemic, let’s forget normal and focus on better. This moment in time is a crucial opportunity for reinvention for every organization and every nation to usher in a more sustainable future. At Cisco, we understand that with our technology, our people, and our global scale we can — and must — be part of the solution and help deliver on the promise of a future that is both sustainable and inclusive.

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J December 01, 2021 at 01:30PM
Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer, Cisco

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